East Texas Dealer Eyes Lenders to Bulk Up Millennial Loan Approvals

millenniums-picture-2Ross Motorsports is on the lookout for lender partners, particularly those with financing programs for millennial buyers, in an effort to boost approval rates, said newly promoted General Manager Ryan Williams.

The Lufkin, Texas-based dealership sells Arctic Cat Inc., Yamaha Motor Corp., and American Honda Motor Co. brand vehicles. Ross Motorsports does business with seven powersports lenders, with another one in the works.

Ross Motorsports signed with Advancial Federal Credit Union in early January, just as the credit union decided to begin financing side-by-sides and ATVs. Additionally, the dealership is on the verge of signing up with MB Financial within two weeks, Williams told Powersports Finance.

However, despite the new partnerships, Ross Motorsports is in search of additional partners to help boost loan approvals, he added, especially for the younger generation of customers who don’t have extensive credit histories.

Former Finance Manager Williams was promoted to the GM position after only 10 months with the dealership. However, the dealership will not fill the finance manager position immediately.

“We are hovering around 600 units [sold] per year right now, and with my experience, I think the target number is about 800 per year before we really need to start looking into hiring another finance manager,” he said. “So we’ve got a little growing to do, and hopefully this year we will hit 800 or 900 units, and next year we will bring on a new finance guy and my role will be just GM.”

Prior to joining Ross Motorsports, Williams served in various finance positions at KB Home Mortgage, Beazer Home Mortgage, Texas Capital Lending, and — most recently — Southern RV Supercenter.

Powersports Finance spoke with Williams about Ross Motorsports’ plans for growth, top priorities for 2017, and its lender relationships. The following are edited experts from the interview:

Powersports Finance: What’s next on the roadmap for Ross Motorsports?


Ryan Williams, General Manager, Ross Motorsports

Ryan Williams: Pertaining to finance, what I’m going to be focused on is definitely doing my research on if there is another bank out there that we can pick up a couple more approvals, versus what I have in my arsenal right now. For example, we had a customer come into the dealership that had pretty decent credit and a good down payment. However, none of my lenders would approve the deal. I signed up with Banterra Bank last month, and they approved this deal the next day. It was a full approval with no stipulations, and it was a $45,000 loan. That helped us out tremendously, and we made 6% reserve on the deal.

There are great banks out there, and then there are banks that will not always fit in your platform. You just have to do extensive research, ask enough questions, maybe call other dealerships that you know, and ask for recommendations. I don’t think a lot of that’s being done. A lot of people don’t want to call their competitors, and some competitors may not give you information. I think if you build a relationship with them over the course of a year or two years, they will be willing to give you information. And, likewise, you have to do the same for them.

PF: Do you prefer to rehash deals with an underwriter rather than use an automated system?

RW: I prefer to rehash deals. Any decline, I always call the lender directly. Sometimes you don’t always win, but when you build a relationship with the banks and you know them on a name-by-name basis, you can just give them a call, and say ‘Hey, I understand this got declined. What can we do or what can the customer do to make this an approval?’ Sometimes instead of 10% down they might want 40% down. You just have to go to the customers, and maybe they have an additional trade. For example, maybe they have a four-wheeler sitting in the back of their garage that cranks and run, but they will never use again. We might be able to give them $1,000 for it to apply to their payment. You just have to get creative to get the extra down payment.

PF: How do you feel about the level of service you receive from your lender partners?

RW: I receive really good service. For example, U.S. Bank — which is one of my predominant banks when it comes to A-paper or prime credit — my rep stops by the dealership every two weeks. I also talk to him almost on a daily basis. He even came in last week and bought a used side-by-side from us. It’s that kind of relationship. You have to know all of your reps on a name basis. And don’t just call them to ask for help. Call them once a week to ask how their spouse and kids are doing. You have to be on a personal level. If you are on personal level with reps, it’s a lot easier to ask for a favor. You can get a lot more paper pushed through on the approval side.

PF: What is the No. 1 obstacle you are facing currently, specific to retail financing?

RW: The No. 1 thing that comes to mind is millennials or the younger generation. A lot of them may not have any credit, or just have two lines of credit and small little credit cards, but they don’t have any kind of installment credit in their past history. They come into the dealership and they are thinking they can start their credit on a recreational vehicle when the truth is that a recreational vehicle is a little bit harder to obtain approvals, versus a house or a vehicle. So we are doing a lot of training — so to speak — with our younger customers, letting them know they need to have comparable trade lines before purchasing a $20,000 side-by-side. That’s where I am getting a lot of declines.

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